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Friday, Feb. 9, 2007| It seems every major event is becoming what I call a “hangover holiday.”
New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and Çinco De Mayo are the most best known of these, but Halloween also has its alcoholic adherents, as does Christmas (egg nog, anyone?)
So far, Groundhog Day and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday have avoided the booze connection, but I have a dream that one day there will be an ad featuring a Dr. King look-alike shouting, “I have a drink!”
Now, Valentine’s Day is getting the booze blitz and I’m not surprised. Alcohol is what brings most people together (and most children into the world), so why shouldn’t it be a focus on Feb. 14?
That’s why one of the gifts I was considering giving my wife on Wednesday is a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville Margarita Maker.
It costs more than $200, but since no one stands up for the hallowed tradition of public drunkenness more than Buffett himself, you would think it was a quality product, right?
So did I. Until I tried it, that is.
It seems the product works too well. Shaving the margarita ice so thinly that it practically melts before you can drink it. And there aren’t any of those delicious ice chunks that occur when you make a margarita using a normal blender.
So I consider giving tequila to her straight, in the form of a Reprosado-style tequila made by El Mayor. It was good as far as tequila goes, but it’s hard determining how this tequila tastes because it tasted watered down.
I don’t mean to imply that the tequila bottle had water in it but it was so strong that I had tears running down my face into the shot glass.
I also thought about giving my wife some fancy-shmancy champagne cognac made by Remy Martin, which supposedly goes well with fancy-shmancy chocolate. It went down well, but I have a problem with alcohol. If it tastes good, I gulp it.
I found out the hard way that it’s never a good idea to gulp cognac.
I had more success with wine, specifically the red wines sold under the brand name Fat Bastard. The wines are reasonably priced (under $15) and are excellent values, especially the Cabernet. However, when my wife saw the brand name, she couldn’t help but snort, “I didn’t know you had your own wine company.”
After having some questions regarding booze and Valentine’s Day, I decided to consider products that were still oriented towards liquid, but not liquor.
For instance, Aveva makes something called the Showersalts Therapy System, which infuses odors of “Eucalyptus Peppermint,” or “Vanilla Citrus” into the shower stream. That sounds good, and so does the package directions telling you that attaching it onto the shower is a snap.
Turns out, that’s only the case if your existing showerhead isn’t glued to your shower thanks to decades of hard water deposits. Believe me, I’m not a handyman, and there is nothing more embarrassing than having to ask your father-in-law for help in the bathroom because of a Valentine’s Day gift you tried to give his daughter.
One gift my wife will probably like comes from a company called Blooming Grove Herbal Remedies. It makes various shower products like soap or body butter. My wife really likes grapefruit so she enjoyed the grapefruit-scented soap.
As I understand it, the company will make customized products as well so maybe the wives of Doug Manchester and Dean Spanos will want to buy their hubbies soap that smells like greenbacks.
I know Mike Aguirre smells corruption everywhere but I don’t know how you would that particular odor into a soap.
Chocolate is, naturally, a big deal on Valentine’s Day. Harry and David sells delicious truffles that can be melted into a fondue bowl. Then you can either dip strawberries or heart-shaped marshmallows.
It seems romantic until it’s time to clean up the chocolate drippings.
My wife and I have also tried NOKA brand chocolate, which is supposedly the world’s most expensive. Yes, it is good dark chocolate but I can’t really taste why it’s so expensive — $854 per pound. It’s usually tacky to give receipts with price tags on gifts, but it may be the only way to ensure your sweetie knows how much money you spent on him or her.
Caviar is also a dish that supposedly tells your sweetie you care about her by giving salty fish eggs. La Petit Pearle, a Boston-based company, sells a variety of farm-raised American caviar. That’s especially necessary if you’re married to an “Only Hablo Ingles” fan of Rick Roberts, particularly one who doesn’t want his money going to one of them foreign fish egg farmers.
If you like salty fishy products, the caviar is good. Real good. So good that I felt like my insides were encrusted with salt for two days afterwards.
That description is my idea of a selling point, but even though I liked it, my wife didn’t. Neither did my daughter even though I told her it was “princess food.” Her response: “I don’t want to eat like a princess. I want French fries.”
In fact, I feel guilty for eating the product because the company is based in Massachusetts and I sampled them during the infamous New England-San Diego playoff game a few weeks ago. I feel like the fact that the Chargers lost is somehow connected to what we in the Moye household now refer to as “the curse of the Massachusetts fish eggs.”
I did try and heat things up with my sweetie by suggesting we try Romanta Therapy White Chocolate Passion Powder, which is some sugary goo that is supposed to be rubbed on parts of the body where, as the label puts it, “you want your lover to linger.”
That idea didn’t work too well with my wife, who chided me by saying, “You know we’re supposed to be on low-carb diets.”
“You know that stuff is filled with carbs.”
“So, you know I am close to weighing what I weighed in high school and I am not going to let any so-called passion powder get in the way of that.”
“So that’s a no?
“What about if I lick it off you?”
“Let’s see. You’re ten pounds overweight. And I know this because you’re snoring. Plus, you have high triglycerides and cholesterol. Uh, can you guess what the answer is?
“Uh, it’s a ‘No’?”
“Yeah. It’s a `No.”’
Actually, the best food-oriented Valentine’s Day gift (besides going out to dinner the night before Feb. 14 — the restaurants are less crowded) is, believe it or not, a Crock Pot.
My wife loves hers because it is so easy to use that I can actually prepare a meal in the morning so she doesn’t have to stress about me burning up the kitchen when she gets home from her own job. Plus, it allows a person to shower, clean up and other things that are normally taken with cooking.
There are some gifts that try to be romantic but fail, such as board games. I am looking at one called “Pillow Talk,” which is billed as the “Sensual Relationship Game.” Board games for couples are basically a con.
The idea is that it will give the couple so heated up they will have to have sex. Instead, the games are so boring that a couple will do anything else just so they can stop — even have sex.
You know that a board game is potentially troublesome when A) it’s designed by a therapist and B) it includes a contract that is supposed to be signed by each member of the couple promising not to get pissed at each other.
The questions on Pillow Talk include things like “Name some people who you would be comfortable being nude with” and “Your Father-in-law is hitting on you. How are some ways you’d get him to stop.”
“Embrace,” which is by the same therapist, is even lamer: It comes with a feather tickler (which my wife says works better collecting dust than our Swiffer) and questions like “Have you ever had nicknames for your genitals?” and admonitions to perform a wet T-shirt contest for your partner.”
Some book companies try to jump on the Valentine’s Day bandwagon by selling relationship books. Nothing wrong with that — and some of the books are pretty darn good. I laughed my way through “God Is a Woman — Dating Disasters” by comedian Ian Coburn, but I’m not sure giving your lover a book on bad dates is a way to tell them you want to take them on good ones.
I also have good things to say about “Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures.” It’s an interesting book but not one I can give to my wife without it seeming like some sort of criticism (and I have none).
Also, there’s probably no way you can give your partner a book titled “Moving On: Dump Your Relationship Baggage and Make Room for the Love Of Your Life” without sending out the message that you’re not that committed.
Although businesses make a lot of money from your trying to impress your partner, I still think the best Valentine’s Day gift comes from the heart, which is why my wife is getting my left ventricle.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who is happily married despite his indecision over what to give his wife on Valentine’s Day. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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